by Meaghan English, a TrueSouth Properties Wildlife Specialist
Depending on where you live in Alabama, some fawns may be dropping and slowly trotting behind their mothers. If you are a social media addict, pictures of fawns are blowing up newsfeeds from Twitter to Instagram and everywhere in between. However cute these newborn babies may be, there are some critical facts to keep in mind regarding fawns and their health, as their health is very crucial over the next few months leading into hunting season and winter. Here are 3 facts that will benefit both you and new fawns.
Leave the fawn alone!! If the fawn is alone, the mother is not very far. Do not try and “rescue” the fawn…you will lower its chances significantly and the risk of death is very high. The truth is, nobody can care for a baby like its mother and this rule applies to deer in Alabama as well. The mother will not abandon the fawn if you absolutely have to move it out of harm’s way. Fawns can be found bedded down for the first 1-2 months of its life. A fawn usually sleeps most of this time and learns how to walk and eat. It will lower its heartbeat and slow its breathing rate if it senses a predator nearby, which is a pretty neat set of survival skills at such a young age.
Fawns will begin to eat vegetation within the first 6 months of its life. If it is abandoned (mother usually killed) after it is two months old, it can survive solely on vegetation without nursing. These months are very crucial to the survival of the fawn. With winter coming, it is very important that the fawn take advantage of the vegetation that is readily available before it all withers away. It is important that the fawn begin to gain strength and stability to carry it through the harsh winter months. The older the fawn gets, the more it will begin to eat on its own and run and play around with other deer.
Just like a newborn kitten or puppy, fawns cannot release bodily wastes on their own. The mother must stimulate this process by licking the urogenital and rectal areas of the fawns. After the fawn dispels the waste, the mother consumes it before predators can get a whiff of it (literally). The mother does everything in its power to increase the chance of survival for its fawn and protect it from any perceived danger or predators.
More facts about newborn fawns and how to increase fawn recruitment on your property can be found on QDMA’s website. Experts have conducted multiple studies about fawn survival and it is important for hunters to be informed about fawns; that is where a healthy deer herd begins. However nurturing the doe is to her fawn(s), habitat management and supplemental feeding conducted by landowners/hunters will also give the newborn babies a good jump on winter. And as we all know, part of hunting big, healthy deer is growing big, healthy deer.
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